The world of technology is booming, with new tech startups popping up like daisies, and older, established companies either pushing forward at intense speeds or being lost in the dust. With these significant technological changes, there is no question that the demand for computer scientists and mechanical developers has skyrocketed. In response to the increasing demand for employees and cutting-edge products, there are a vast number of companies, both established corporations and startups, that are offering grants for research regarding artificial intelligence (AI). Artificial intelligence is an up-and-coming industry, with already over 100,000 people worldwide in the workforce today who are qualified to plan, develop, and commercially institute AI software. Programs in the United States and abroad work tirelessly to recruit individuals for their teams with the hope of commanding the market in the field of artificial intelligence development. The brilliant aspect that nearly all grant-providers offer is a unique experience to work and create the foundations for artificial intelligence systems, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, and ability; this gives all people an equal chance to get a break-through in an industry where they may not have been considered professionally before.
AI for Accessibility grant
One such grant program is called the AI for Accessibility grant, which is run and supported by Microsoft; AI for Accessibility focuses on creating artificial intelligence and technological programs with the ability to support people with disabilities by giving them the opportunity to help to make the programs; this allows for distinctive systems that are developed by the community of people they seek to benefit and reach. This is extremely important, as many apps-of-the-past had fundamental problems with being able to fully support people with disabilities, and oftentimes are cumbersome to use, with complicated and difficult to understand interfaces. Microsoft’s AI for Accessibility aims to reduce these issues with newly developed AI technology and operating systems created by grant winners.
Another grant with noble goals is “AI Grant,” which is run by a non-profit research lab overseen by Nat Friedman and Daniel Gross. Although this grant boasts its open-mindedness regarding which projects and and people it will choose to fund, the grant creators are candid about their desire to fund projects that may have not been funded elsewhere. This is especially important for anyone who is having extreme difficulty with getting their project off the ground, or who feels like their project may not be worth getting funded. By giving everyone a shot at receiving the grant, the AI Grant allows for the utmost creative liberty, with its only rules being that it has to benefit the world in some way. With so much negative press–mainly coming from uninformed sources–regarding artificial intelligence, it is paramount that developers find reliable and respectable funding for their AI ventures.
Not only is giving researchers and AI developers suitable funding important, but so is providing them with a quality workspace and access to machinery and technology they may need throughout their process. Launchpad Studio, operated by and partnered with Google Developers, gives researchers a chance to work in their startups and even in Google tech labs. Grant opportunities such as Launchpad Studio operate year-round, and applicants are accepted as space becomes available, with studios and workspaces available practically internationally. Another such grant organization is Salesforce, which plugs grant winners directly into companies that would be best suited to meet their development needs.These sort of opportunities also allow AI developers to work with people from all over the world to create their software.
Overall, grants providing funds to artificial intelligence researchers benefit everyone involved, including the companies running the grants, the grant winners, and even the general public. By giving new researchers the opportunity to bring their ideas to life, the possibilities and potential for new technological growth are limitless. Developing artificial intelligence on one’s own is incredibly difficult and tedious, and regardless, requires an immense amount of time, money, and effort. By providing stipends and allowances for materials, and even housing in some cases, companies can count on the individuals they accept to churn out valuable material that they can market and sell, while developers and researchers can be ensured that they are being compensated fairly and have enough funds to see their projects through to the end.
Victoria Liset is strategic business & technology consultant to SMEs. She helps businesses improve their performance by using data more efficiently, and helping them to understand the implications of new technologies such as AI, Machine Learning, Big data, blockchain and IoT.